DOTC to initiate criminal probe on Robredo plane crash

THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will instruct the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to initiate a new criminal investigation into the plane crash that killed former DILG secretary Jesse Robredo last August 18, 2012, off Masbate waters.

In an interview after defending the agency’s budget before the Senate panel, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the main mission of the present investigation conducted by CAAP is to prevent a similar accident in the future.

“First of all, I also find out that RIIB, the body tasked to investigate, main mission is to prevent a similar event. It has not criminal finding responsibility. The CAAP will undertake that task. So after this, the CAAP will conduct investigation and find out criminal or administrative liability,” he said.

Last August 18, 2012, a Piper Seneca, owned by AviaTour, piloted by Jessup Bahinting, the company’s chairman and CEO, crashed off the island province of Masbate, killing Robredo.

His aide Senior Inspector Jhun Abrazado, survived the crash but was injured. Bahinting and his Nepalese co-pilot, Kshitiz Chand, both died in the crash.

No final report yet

Meanwhile, Abaya said that there was no final report yet on the incident since that the last stone has not yet been turned by probers particularly the text messages made by Robredo and his aide before the crash which will conclude the probe.

“We are checking if it is legally possible to get text messages, at least the transmission and not content, and the call messages. Once you get that data, we try to integrate that with the affidavit and statement of Abrazado and likewise the report from the tower coming from manila. We just put that in. so we will further reinforce the finding. There is no doubt on the text. We just want to incorporate,” he said.

Abaya said that the text messages and calls made by Robredo and Abrazado before the crash will be incorporated in the final report since it was not included in the initial draft.

“Kasi we are aware kasi tumawag s’ya. There were statements na tumawag si Abrazado to make reservation again in Cebu for a flight. So we just want to incorporate that na hindi isinama sa initial draft,” he said.

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